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Mark Helias Open Loose: The Signal Maker

Read "The Signal Maker" reviewed by John Sharpe

Bassist Mark Helias runs a tight ship. Not in the sense of tricksy arrangements or impossible time signatures. It's more the laser sharp focus his accomplished Open Loose combo brings to the job in hand. And that job is breathing bustling and unpredictable life into the baker's dozen selections that constitute The Signal Maker, the unit's 7th release since 1998. Drummer Tom Rainey has been there since the inception, while saxophonist Tony Malaby is the new boy, having joined a ...

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Mark Helias - Tony Malaby - Tom Rainey: The Signal Maker

Read "The Signal Maker" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Celebrated bassist Mark Helias brings his all-star Open Loose trio back to the studio where compositions are reimagined, and heavy doses of improvisation are devised with a whole lot of cunningness. With these 13 pieces, the band infuses changeable and buoyantly rendered grooves, ideas, and detours, highlighted by the respective musicians' signature styles and striking intuitiveness. It's a manifold program that projects a sense of adventure via off-kilter deviations, gobs of counterpoint and a flock of shrewdly conceptualized twists and ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Mark Helias: The Struggle Continues, Dance of the Soothsayer

Read "Mark Helias: The Struggle Continues, Dance of the Soothsayer" reviewed by Stuart Broomer

Dewey Redman The Struggle Continues ECM 2007 Dennis Gonzalez Dance of the Soothsayer's Tongue (Live at Tonic) Clean Feed 2007 Open Loose Strange Unison Radio Legs 2008

Mark Helias is a consummate bassist, a musician whose abilities as both collaborator and soloist have ...

PROFILES

Mark Helias

Read "Mark Helias" reviewed by Celeste Sunderland

Perpetually in the moment, musicians have a unique perception of things, according to bassist Mark Helias, an advantageous attribute in a world where most of the population slumbers and self-expression is the goal. “It's a Darwinian thing. Some people believe 20 percent of the population is awake, the rest is asleep, just follows the flow. In a so-called participatory democracy, that's dangerous. As a musician, acutely aware of the political and social atmosphere, Helias can consider himself several ...

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Mark Helias: Atomic Clock

Read "Atomic Clock" reviewed by Donald Elfman

Mark Helias--his big steady bass and organic, his compositions ever-changing--continues to set the standard for making music that bears shape and direction but also celebrates the freedom to improvise openly and... er... loosely. For ten years he and his powerful trio have refined and broadened the scope of this music so by now the players share an ethos that allows them to explore what making music in a group means. It's three individuals bonded by the passion of collaboration.

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Mark Helias' Open Loose: Atomic Clock

Read "Atomic Clock" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

In a career spanning over twenty years, Mark Helias has worked with some interesting musical collaborations and concepts. He has constantly searched for the new and challenging, whether it has been in the company of musicians like Ray Anderson, Pheeroan akLaff, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway, to name a few--or in his writing, which encompasses chamber music, big band charts and smaller collaborations like a bass duo with Hemingway.

Helias' concept of open loose sits in well with ...

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Mark Helias: Fictionary

Read "Fictionary" reviewed by Jim Santella

A creative composer and bassist, Mark Helias gathers familiar harmonies and fresh melodies, combines them with checkered rhythms, and produces music guaranteed to hold your interest. Fictionary was recorded at performances in the Netherlands for the Groningen Jazz Festival and the Nijmegen Music Meeting in 1995 and '96, respectively. The quartet, which combines Ellery Eskelin's tenor saxophone with Mark Feldman's violin, Helias' bass, and drums, is aptly named Attack The Future. Tom Rainey was the drummer for the 1995 appearance; ...

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Mark Helias "Fictionary": Fictionary

Read "Fictionary" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Highly regarded bassist Mark Helias is also a fine composer and bandleader. His latest effort “Fictionary" is a live recording featuring Mark Feldman; violin, Ellery Eskelin; sax, Mike Sarin and Tom Rainey on drums.

This cd captures performances from Helias' unit during the 1995 Groningen and 1996 Nijmegen jazz festivals. The interplay is magnificent. Helias compositions are perfect vehicles for extroadinary improv between violinist Feldman and the astounding Eskelin on tenor sax. The pace varies from tune to tune but ...


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